BlackRock’s Paris Protests- Protesters storm Paris office holding red flares and firing smoke bombs

Paris/LondonCNN — Demonstrators forced their way into the building that houses BlackRock’s office in Paris Thursday, taking their protest against the government’s pension reforms to the world’s biggest money manager.


Workers invade the Centorial building that houses BlackRock's office in Paris/ photo courtesy


About 100 people, including representatives of several labor unions, were on the ground floor of the building for about 10 minutes, chanting anti-reform slogans. BlackRock’s office is located on the third floor.

“The meaning of this action is quite simple. We went to the headquarters of BlackRock to tell them: the money of workers, for our pensions, they are taking it,” Jerome Schmitt, spokesman for French union SUD, told CNN affiliate BFM-TV. BlackRock declined to comment.

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has played no part in the pension reforms. 

The government has said the pension legislation is necessary to prevent a looming funding deficit, but the reforms have angered workers at a time of rising living costs. French inflation fell last month from a record in February, thanks to a sharp slowdown in energy price rises, but food price inflation accelerated.


Representatives of CGT, France’s biggest confederation of unions and a key player in the protests, have denounced capitalism as the cause of many problems.

Rolling strike action in the country has caused huge disruption to transport services, schools and businesses since the start of the year. At least 80 people were arrested and 123 police officers injured during protests on March 23, which saw demonstrators setting fires, launching smoke bombs and damaging property.

France’s interior ministry said 11,500 law enforcement officers would be deployed across the country on Thursday.

The country’s new retirement age will still be below the norm in Europe and in many other developed economies, where the age at which full pension benefits apply is 65 and is increasingly moving towards 67.

State pensions in France are also more generous than elsewhere. At nearly 14% of GDP in 2018, the country’s spending on state pensions is larger than in most other countries, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.